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Digital Imaging: Software

There are a number of popular image editing software programs. Most of these programs were initially developed for the use of the desktop publishing or web design community. The programs have many powerful features that are often completely unrelated to the needs of scientific users. Since most of these programs can do all the tasks that are appropriate for scientists, choosing the correct program often comes down to weighing the factors of:

  • Previous experience with the software (the “learning curve” can be significant)
  • Cost (look into the possibilities of educational pricing for academic users or volume pricing if several computers will use the program)
  • Other programs or features bundled with the program
  • The program’s hardware requirements (imaging is a resource intensive task for computers)

The following list of commercial image editing programs is not meant to be exhaustive. Visit the vendor’s web page for more information about the program. Be sure to review the hardware requirements and availability for your computer platform. (NOTE: the links that follow each program are to “tips” sites. Many of the tips will be for desktop publishing users and/or web developers. Scientists should be cautious in the use of some of these tips for research images.)

Photoshop (Adobe Systems, Inc.) Windows, Macintosh